#4607. 中英語の叙情詩[literature][me][genre]


 目下,大学院の授業で Bennett and Smithers のアンソロジーより中英語の叙情詩 (Middle English lyrics) を読んでいる.最もよく知られているのは,輪唱の歌詞 Sumer is icumen in だろう(cf. 「#1438. Sumer is icumen in」 ([2013-04-04-1])).現代の歌い手による輪唱を生で聴いたことがあるが,調子と歌詞が明るくすがすがしい.輪唱だけに,頭の中でぐるぐる回ってしまい,口ずさまずにはいられない中毒性がある.
 中英語の叙情詩といっても,話題としては世俗的なものもあれば宗教的なものまである.政治詩,恋愛詩,賛美歌を含めカバーする範囲は広い.Sumer is icumen in のように音楽に載せたものもあれば,そうでないものもある.形式も様々だ.基本的に短い詩が多いが,逆にいうと短い詩であれば "lyric" と呼んでしまえるのではないかという感がある.実際,このジャンルを定義づける要素は何かという問いに対して,端的に「短い詩である」という答えもあり得るようだ.Greentree (388) の "Characteristics of Lyrics" に関する説明を読んでみよう.

There are some constants in the genre. Ann S. Haskell notes a 'cluster of characteristics' including brevity, metrical pattern, rhyme scheme, theme and occasional hints of a plot. To John Burrow, the term 'usually means no more than a short poem', but he emphasizes 'the most characteristic axis of lyric poetry: the "I" addressing the "you", and distinguishes that 'I' from any other personal utterance, since the lyric 'I' 'speaks not for an individual but for a type' (Burrow 1982: 61). The voice of the lyric 'I' is always present, sounding many notes: laughing, weeping, expressing countless human feelings, praying, teaching or passing on scraps of knowledge.

 このジャンルを定義づける試みがうまくいかないのは,そこでは相反するものが共存しているからである.むしろ,それこそが中英語の叙事詩の特徴なのかもしれない.このことを Greentree (387) が次のように表現している.

          'Oh, to vex me, contraries meet in one'

Anyone who seeks the essence and boundaries of the medieval English lyric may find John Donne's line an apt expression of the task's pleasures and exasperations. The Middle English lyric attracts contraries of matter and manner, metre, diction and form. The slightest of structures may bear the weight of serious content with a paradox or exploration of holy mysteries in a form equally suited to celebration. Apparently artless forms may prove sophisticated and lavishly allusive. The disparate members of this genre vary from the glorious to the mundane . . . . Vexation comes from attempts to define the genre, to confine its members within a few descriptive sentences. Every statement can be questions, every adjective is ambiguous, every category has exceptions.


 ・ Bennett, J. A. W. and G. V. Smithers, eds. Early Middle English Verse and Prose. 2nd ed. Oxford: OUP, 1968.
 ・ Greentree, Rosemary. "Lyric." A Companion to Medieval English Literature and Culture: c.1350--c.1500. Ed. Peter Brown. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2007. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. 387--405.
 ・ Burrow, John. Medieval Writers and their Work: Middle English Literature and its Background 1100--1500. Oxford: OUP, 1982.

Referrer (Inside): [2021-12-08-1]

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